Welcome to your Monday cable and broadband news roundup.
The TiVo Inc. Mini makes its retail debut today. The thin-client IP set-top pairs with the TiVo Premiere DVR to extend live and recorded content to multiple rooms in the home. It's currently available online at the TiVo site, but also will be available in retail stores starting on March 17. Dave Zatz of Zatz Not Funny has posted an early hands-on review. Zatz notes that the Mini lacks a Netflix Inc. app and has a noticeable tuning lag when streaming live television, but recommends the new set-top for anyone who already owns a four-tuner TiVo Premiere. The Mini, which does work with Comcast Corp.'s video-on-demand (VoD) service, sells for $99.99, plus a subscription of $5.99 per month (a lifetime subscription runs $149.99).
Ahead of the retail launch, Suddenlink Communications was the first MSO to offer subscribers TiVo's diminutive IP box last month. The operator also leases out the TiVo Stream to customers as an option for moving live and stored content to iPads and other mobile devices. (See Suddenlink Rolls Out TiVo Mini and Suddenlink Activates TiVo Stream.)
Staying in the product review vein, a reporter at The Denver Post matched the Hopper with Sling from Dish Network Corp. against the X1 platform from Comcast Corp., and gave the edge to the Dish hardware. Writes Andy Vuong: "The Hopper's stand-out features are revolutionary, while the X1's are evolutionary." While the Hopper got the nod for its commercial-skipping and video-slinging features, Dish's legal issues with broadcasters still puts the future of these elements in some doubt Meanwhile, Vuong did single out Comcast's sports app on the X1, noting its "smart search" function and scoring updates. (See Fox Attacks Dish's New Video Slinger.)
San Diego Padres fans strike out again. For the second year in a row, Time Warner Cable Inc. has failed to reach a deal with Fox Sports San Diego to run in-market baseball games. The MSO argues that Fox is demanding triple the what Cox Communications Inc. wanted when Cox owned the rights to the Padres games two years ago. However, The Los Angeles Times points out that the argument doesn’t hold much water with San Diegans, particularly when TW Cable is willing to pay Fox an estimated $8 billion for Los Angeles Dodgers games. Civic leaders will meet on Thursday to try to resolve the issue. If they don't, an estimated 185,000 households will once again end up without Padres baseball.
— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable